No team faces a tougher road through the right half of the National Championship bracket than the University of Ottawa. The Gee-Gees went on a regular season tear, racking up some of College League of Legends’ most impressive objective control stats through Week 4, but stumbled in the Eastern Finals against Western University and gave a mixed showing in Play-Ins, where they were swept by another rival on this side of the bracket: Maryland. If East champions Western University are paragons of consistency, the runners-up, it seems, must shake a disturbing lack thereof if they hope to hoist the trophy this year.
Looking at the average objective control per game metrics, you’d never guess that Ottawa was one of College LoL’s most explosive teams heading into Week 5. Competition against the best teams in their region and their first experience in interregional play exposed some of Ottawa’s weaknesses, and their stats reflect that. Currently, the Gee-Gees stats match their seeding: they are seventh in objectives allowed and objective difference. The team plays good offense when they are ahead, which places them ahead of East rivals Western U in objectives taken, their inability to stop the bleeding when they get behind is what has snakebitten them this year.
The result is that Ottawa’s average objective difference per game has been almost halved since Week 4 of the regular season. Tougher opponents inter and intraregionally have cut into the Canadian squad’s ability to roll up their opponents, and in their first round matchup, this bodes ill indeed. The Gee-Gees will need to mobilize their top laner and jungler like they did in Game 2 of the East Finals if they want to prevent this trend from continuing this week.
Tomorrow, the Gee-Gees will take on the University of California, Irvine as heavy underdogs. The West Coast giants will bring several former LCS players and a metric ton of momentum with them to the matchup, while Ottawa looks like they’re reeling a bit. Further, the other matchup on this side of the bracket is between two teams, Western and Maryland, that swept Ottawa in previous matches. Therefore, the outlook is less than sunny.
However, low expectations will be one of Ottawa’s blessings. The other teams on the right side of the bracket will have to contend with overwhelming pressure to beat the Gee-Gees convincingly to prove their title potential. Therefore, the proverbial “Man with Nothing to Lose” is from Canada this year. With very little pressure on them to make it out of the first round, Ottawa has a tremendous opportunity to become an instant fan favorite if they can put a couple of upsets together. With good mental preparation and a little bit of that regular season magic, Ottawa might just make it out of their half of the bracket and put the East back in contention for a national title for the second straight year.
Banner Image credit: University of Ottawa International Office.
Matt Howard is the League of Legends editor for Collegiate StarLeague. He is also a Games Scholar who received his Master’s in History at the University of Houston. His thesis is a sport history of League of Legends esports and Web 2.0 culture. Find him on Twitter @EHyungNim.